Cornish Lithium attracts TechMet funding
To develop a cornerstone of UK's battery metal supply chain Metal Tech News – December 1, 2021
Last updated 12/7/2021 at 1:55pm
An up to 18-million-pound (US$24 million) investment by global critical metals firm TechMet Ltd. is allowing Cornish Lithium Ltd. to accelerate its mission to provide domestic supplies of lithium and other battery metals from its projects in the United Kingdom's historic Cornwall mining region.
"Cornish Lithium has reached an inflexion point in the company's development where larger scale investment is required," said Cornish Lithium CEO Jeremy Wrathall. "This funding underpins the company's ambitions in Cornwall as we seek to progress our projects towards construction and commercial production."
These ambitions include producing lithium from both geothermal waters and hardrock sources in the Cornwall area.
On the geothermal front, Cornish Lithium is developing environmentally sound technologies to directly extract lithium from deep geothermal waters delivered by GeoCubed, a collaboration between Cornish Lithium and Geothermal Engineering Ltd., and shallow geothermal waters from Cornish Lithium's own research wells.
On the hardrock front, the UK-based company is working toward the development of a commercial mine at its Trelavour project in Cornwall, a mining region that traces its roots back to the Bronze Age.
More information on Cornish Lithium and its project in the historic Cornwall district can be read at Lithium revives Cornwall mining region in the June 9, 2021 edition of Metal Tech News.
The work being carried out by Cornish Lithium has attracted the attention and now funding from TechMet, a company founded in 2017 by South African mining magnate Brian Menell to develop assets that produce metals for which global demand is expected to vastly outweigh supply as the world moves to clean energy technologies.
"We have been extremely impressed by the innovative and talented Cornish Lithium team, which has made considerable progress over the past few years," said Menell, chairman and CEO of TechMet. "We are excited to be supporting the next phase of development and building a long-term partnership with Cornish Lithium, which could become a cornerstone of the UK's battery metal supply chain as well as having very positive implications for Cornwall's local economy."
To help Cornish Lithium advance its projects to the next level, TechMet is making an initial 9-million-pound (US$12 million) investment in shares of the privately held lithium company that attracted government support, and 6 million pounds (US$8 million) raised through a crowdfunding campaign carried out in June.
Following the publication of a scoping study that provides an initial glimpse at developing a hardrock lithium mine at Cornish Lithium's Trelavour project in the St. Austell region of Cornwall, TechMet has the option to invest a further 9 million pounds (US$12 million) into the lithium company.
If TechMet decides to complete the second tranche, the technology metals company will have the first right to market products produced at Cornish Lithium projects as long as it holds at least a 15% interest in the Cornwall-based company.
"This investment reinforces the merits of our projects as we seek to progress towards commercial production," said Wrathall. "Importantly, TechMet's mission of building ethical and environmentally sound supply chains for the metals needed to ensure the success of the clean energy and electric vehicle revolution, is fully aligned with that of Cornish Lithium."
Once the Trelavour mine scoping study is complete, which is expected before mid-2022, Cornish Lithium plans to construct a demonstration-scale plant to further refine the metallurgical extraction process, which will ultimately inform the design of a commercial plant at the project.
The TechMet funding also allows Cornish Lithium to continue advancing its plans to extract lithium from geothermal waters. In addition to drilling and further research into direct lithium extraction technologies, the Cornwall-focused lithium company will explore opportunities to provide local businesses with low-carbon heat generated from its geothermal operations.
"TechMet has the financial capability to contribute additional capital if required and thus represents a strong, long-term partner for Cornish Lithium," Wrathall added.
This investment also brings Cornish Lithium into the TechMet family of companies, which includes:
• Li-Cycle Corp. – North America's largest lithium-ion battery recycling company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
• U.S. Vanadium LLC – A United States-based producer of high-purity vanadium pentoxide used in aerospace-grade alloys and grid-scale redox flow batteries.
• Brazilian Nickel – A UK-based mining company focused on producing nickel and cobalt, two key lithium-ion battery metals, at its Piauí mine project in Brazil.
• Tinco – A UK-based mining company that is the largest tin and tungsten producer in Rwanda.
In April, TechMet raised US$120 million to support its vision of continuing to build upon this portfolio of world-class projects that produce, process, and recycle metals critical to electric vehicles, renewable energy systems, and energy storage.
"TechMet's mission is to build ethical, independent, and environmentally sound supply chains for the metals that are needed to ensure the success of this 21st-century clean energy and EV revolution," Menell said.